At a glance.
- Congress asks Department of Energy to look into energy sector cybersecurity.
- A proposal for "Cyber Civil Defense" (with private funding).
- State regulators move forward on cryptocurrency regulation.
Members of Congress ask the US Department of Energy to look into energy sector cybersecurity.
A bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives have written Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to work to ensure that her Department remains the Sector Risk Management Agency for the energy sector. They ask in particular that the Department of Energy ensure that its existing cybersecurity reporting requirements be harmonized with those that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will develop as it implements the recently passed Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022. The lawmakers' concerns appear to be a loss of beneficial continuity as the new law is implemented, and they don't want Energy to wash its hands of the matter. “Companies in the energy sector must focus their attention on maintaining cybersecurity and responding to cyber events. The federal government should act as a valuable partner in tracking and responding to cyber threats to critical infrastructure and avoid inconsistent and duplicative requirements. Establishing consistent reporting requirements is especially important now.”
Cyber Civil Defense.
The Global Cyber Alliance reports that the Craig Newmark Philanthropies has "committed to donating more than $50 million total to support a broad coalition of organizations dedicated to educating and protecting Americans amid escalating cybersecurity threats.'' Craig Newmark (who is the "Craig" in Craigslist) characterizes the effort as a "Cyber Civil Defense" initiative. It will focus on cyber education, cybersecurity career opportunities, development of cybersecurity tools for community protection, usability and customer service for security tools and services, and championing "equitable cybersecurity."
Civil Defense recalls a Cold War program in the US that was established by President Truman in 1950. Civil Defense was the responsibility of a series of agencies until 1973, when the program fell into disuse. Many of its functions were assumed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), created in 1978. FEMA has tended to focus on natural disasters, whereas the earlier Civil Defense effort concentrated on preparation for nuclear war. Its legacy may still be seen in remnant fallout shelters, signage in early Cold War buildings, and so forth. It always had a strong volunteer component, and it's this aspect that this private initiative seeks to build upon.
State regulators move forward on cryptocurrencies (absent Federal action).
The New York Times reports that, in the absence of comprehensive US Federal regulation of cryptocurrencies, state legislatures are passing rules to govern the sector. Cryptocurrency companies and their lobbyists are taking a leading role in helping shape such legislation in favorable directions ("an aggressive industry-led push to position states as crypto-friendly beachheads"), and industry is proceeding "state-by-state." The Times summarizes what it takes to be the industry's plans:
"Across the nation, crypto executives and lobbyists are helping to draft bills to benefit the fast-growing industry, then pushing lawmakers to adopt these made-to-order laws, before moving rapidly to profit from the legislative victories. The effort is part of an emerging national strategy by the crypto industry, in the absence so far of comprehensive federal regulatory demands, to work state by state to engineer a more friendly legal system. Lobbyists are aiming to clear the way for the continued explosive growth of cryptocurrency companies, which are trying to revolutionize banking, e-commerce and even art and music.
"Many states are racing to satisfy the wish lists from crypto companies and their lobbyists, betting that the industry can generate new jobs. But some consumer advocates worry that this aim-to-please effort could leave investors and businesses more vulnerable to the scams and risky practices that have plagued crypto’s early growth."